Beauty is in the eyes of the society, forum told

By Amirah Salhuddin

GOMBAK, 1 March 2022: Beauty standards have been embedded in society to the point that they affect people’s physical and mental health, hence the reason why it is important to focus on the qualities one brings to the table.

This was one of the highlights at the “Beauty in the Eye of Society” forum shared by the two speakers, Jabir bin Jilani Miftah, a model and the founder and president of YouthCare Malaysia, and Nina Shahira, a nutritionist. 

The forum was organised by Mahallah Representative Council (MRC) of Mahallah Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi in collaboration with IIUMToday to bring awareness regarding beauty standards which can be detrimental in society while at the same time to eradicate the false perception surrounding the concept of beauty standards.

The moderator began the forum by asking Jabir bin Jilani Miftah’s opinion regarding the beauty perception shown by social media influencers that oftentimes causes the public to crave for perfection.

He shared that the beauty standards established by society are defined by external factors, such as body size, skin colour, and height. Be that as it may, Jabir argues, that look or appearance itself is not enough, it is the personality that creates a compelling character. 

The standards of beauty have caused many people to feel inadequate, which lead them to struggle with mental illnesses and eating disorders as people start to beat themselves to reach the unreasonably high and unrealistic beauty standards that society has set. 

Jabir also emphasised the importance of being confident in a world full of paragons of beauty as it enhances one’s appearance and increases one’s attractiveness.

“It is up to us how we want to bring ourselves forward, what matters the most is what you bring to the table; your character and how you bring good (impacts) to society,” he said.

There are a few movements shared by Jabir which advocates the appreciation of all kinds of bodies and disregards the beauty standards namely Body Positivity Movement and Body Neutrality Movement. 

The social movements were introduced in the United States as a way to celebrate the diversity of body sizes, shapes, skin colours, and genders. The movements shifted the focus from appearances of individuals to their strengths and intrinsic qualities 

Meanwhile, Nina Shahira shared that beauty standards have been established since the very beginning of human civilisation and it can be traced from the Palaeolithic era where women of big sizes were praised because it symbolised fertility. 

She stated that the usage of cosmetic products that contain harmful chemicals and radioactive substances such as lead were heavily introduced during the Victorian era causing the death of Maria Coventry, the Countess of Coventry in 1760. 

Nina also emphasised that we have to be mindful of what we consume on social media since it has become a part of our daily lives, so it is important not to conform to everything we see on the platforms. 

“With the presence of social media in our lives, it worsens the perception of beauty by giving negative impressions that can put us down,” she said. 

The moderator continued the forum with a question of the relationship between eating behaviour and beauty perception to Nina, to which she answered that the food one consumes shapes the person that you are.

Nina highlighted six key points about eating behaviour that includes various kinds of habits or nutritions – hydration, phytochemical, protein/Omega 3, fermented food, nuts, Vitamin E, dark chocolate.

According to Nina, these are six important nutritions that we are encouraged to consume with moderation to improve our health and beauty. 

The forum ended with a Question and Answer session, where one of the audiences inquired from Jabir the best way to maintain external and internal beauty.

“To maintain our external beauty, of course we have to have enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly as simple as that.

“And for our internal beauty, we have to work on developing our characters by putting ourselves in the position where we can build our personalities,” Jabir answered. 

The live forum was held live on Sunday (27 February) from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. via Google Meet. ***

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